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We approached some of the most seasoned Camino experts and asked them for their top tips for anyone considering walking the Camino de Santiago. Here’s what the experts had to say:
Leslie Gilmour – Founder of Camino Adventures Blog
Top tip from me:
“Once you’ve packed your rucksack as lightly as possible, put in another two things that will not add any weight; lots of patience and tolerance! You’ll meet many people who are hot, tired, sore, sometimes exhausted, and certainly out of their usual environment, so may be a little antsy or even moody. Patience and tolerance will help you have a better Camino (and life).” – CaminoAdventuresBlog
Umberto di Venosa – Founder of Follow the Camino and Seasoned Pilgrim
My top tips are:
“More is not better. Some people want to walk more, longer, faster etc. Take your time. You will never be the person who has walked the most, fastest or slowest. Even if you are, so what? Be yourself, do things as YOU want not as you are told to do.
Cheaper is not necessarily better. I have met people from various origins and backgrounds who think that the better the deal you get, the better it is or the “more a pilgrim you are.” In the 21st century, we work in a market economy. If you pay €10 for your meal or room, do not expect a service that you would get if you paid €50 for example. Be reasonable with your expectations and what you want from your Camino.
Do not over think it. Many people, blogs etc. have different views and opinions. There is no “best way” to walk the Camino. It depends on what you want out of it, how far you are ready to go in sharing/paying. The best tip of all, speak to the experts. We will gauge after a few questions what is the best way to go about it for you personally.” – Follow the Camino
Ariana Brackenbury – Wisdom of the Camino
My top tips are:
“Slow Down: For many our lives seem to be driven by the clock, schedules and appointments, and juggling all of our commitments. Too often there is a sense that there’s not enough time.
One of the great gifts of the Camino is the opportunity to relax and let go of all of that. Making a conscious decision to slow down is quite possibly one of the most powerful things you can do. Each moment on the Camino is precious. There is no need to rush to get to the next town. There’s lots of time at the end of the day to connect with the people you are walking with. When you allow your body to shift to a new rhythm, you give it some space to adjust to walking long distances each day. Injuries forced me to slow down during my first Camino journey because I was rushing at the beginning. When I let go of the perception that I needed to rush I was more in the moment. I began to trust there would be a space for me to sleep and that is what manifested for me.”
“Foot care: Many people take better care of their feet on the Camino than in everyday life. If you have cracked heels, dry feet, or heavy callouses some pre Camino love will make a difference. If getting a pedicure make sure they do not shave off the callouses but file them as a certain amount is good for protection against friction when walking long distances per day. Have the toenails shortened as much as possible regularly throughout your pilgrimage as it can be very painful when a slightly overgrown toenail cuts into the adjoining toe. Start with a night and morning routine to keep the feet soft and supple. Your feet will thank you. Buen Camino!” – Wisdom of the Camino
Shlomo Cohen – 6 Time Camino Walker
Here’s my top tip, hope it’s helpful!
“I think it very appropriate to note that, the man/woman who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready! Why go with a friend? The chances are you will start to irritate each other and speak to less people on the Way. The whole experience is about meeting the world on the Camino and not bringing your home with you. Do I sound cynical by saying this? It’s just that I’ve met so many people over my six different Camino’s that I know if I had traveled with a friend it would not have happened and my horizons wouldn’t have been as broadened as they have been.” – Shlomo Cohen
Sue Kenney – Author of Best-Selling Book, My Camino
My number one tip for walking the Camino:
“Don’t think so much about getting to the end. Instead, think about the idea: With each step you take forward, walk back to your authentic self.” – Sue Kenney
Adam Wells – Discover the Camino Blog
Top tip: It’s only today’s villages that count
“The Camino is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one. I once walked with a lady on the Camino Francés who daily kept on thinking about the remaining distance to Santiago de Compostela and whether she would make it or not. Her focus was always on the far-off destination. Yes, the Camino Francés is a journey of 500 miles, but it can also be a journey of 14 miles – each day for 35 days. My tip would be to ‘stay present’, as much as possible, to your thinking; especially so when experiencing a difficult day. In this way, you can reduce any overwhelm and still get to enjoy the best that the Camino has to offer.” – Adam Wells
For more great ideas like these see our Top Tips Blog section